Various - Defunct Indiana: 17 Indie, Experimental & Hardcore Artists from Indiana's Past (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Defunct Indiana: 17 Indie, Experimental & Hardcore Artists from Indiana's Past (2008)

Joyful Noise

Defunct Indiana is like a mix CD I'd expect to get from an Internet friend trying to document me his obscure hometown's music scene. Considering the relative quality on said compilation, I actually don't have much of a problem with that.

Defunct Indiana: 17 Indie, Experimental & Hardcore Artists from Indiana's Past is pretty self-explanatory. This is a rather diverse collection of songs dating from 1995-2007, and while not every one is a winner, there's a few surefire standouts.

The biggest name here is probably Usurp Synapse, the short-lived, fierce grind/screamo melting pot. The band reformed in 2004 to record a full-length that never saw a release, but we get a rare treat in the form of one of its tracks: the blistering opener of Indiana, "Attitude Diaper." It's about what you'd expect from them, only with better production.

The next noteworthy entry comes from Majhas, an experimental metallic hardcore outfit who clearly attended the School of Neurosis. However, when the band's vocalist kicks in, he's surprisingly comprehensible and it makes the song that much better -- think the lovechild of Poison the Well's Jeffrey Moreira and Breather Resist's Steve Sidoni that never was. The song makes another change with squealing guitars and a moment of even cleaner vocal delivery, and it's pretty awesome. I'd definitely check out the band's stuff based on this.

BIGBIGcar is a really curious act that seems to, mostly, win with their contribution, "Oh, Let's Race." Their vocalist often sounds like Kevin Devine crossed with a Fueled by Ramen-type singer, but the song is a sort of acoustified, experimental indie rock. It sounds like nothing else on the compilation by a long shot, and will definitely jump out at any listener.

More goodness comes from Manners for Husbands with "Camp Song," an American Football-esque jam from 2001 with less complex guitars, equally mellow charm and more distortion. Luckily, the band released a free digital EP in 2006, so I'm downloading as we speak write.

The last seven tracks or so don't really do much for me, though. Fabric's "Deaf Baby" is a tired number that sounds like solo material Chris Conley might've written around the release of In Reverie, even though the song predates that era by six years. Ari Ari's "2006" seems to channel the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' most hyperactive moments, but I can't actually decide if that's a good thing or not. The closer is a bonus track, Big Cow and the Prophets' "Countries Come and Go," a meh affair with a pretty Pavement-ish guitar riff.

There's a couple very bright spots on Defunct Indiana, and they're enough to make it an overall positive experience. For those that are constantly seeking out new (or old) music, Defunct Indiana should definitely turn you on to a few gems you'd probably have never found otherwise.